IFJ Welcomes Landmark Solidarity Summit of African Journalists Unions

The International Federation of Journalists today said journalists’ unions in Africa were well set for a fresh campaign of regional work in defence of journalists’ rights after a landmark Conference of the African Journalists’ Trade Unions in Rabat (Morocco) from September 10 – 11, 2006, which set out a programme for action to strengthen journalists’ groups in Africa.

Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ, who opened the conference, said the event was the first of the kind. He said: “At a moment when journalists in Africa are facing repressive laws, imprisonment, the hostile effects of globalisation and problems of social exclusion throughout the region, there is a need to promote a viable trade union movement in media to meet these challenges.”

His feelings were strongly supported by the conference organisers. “The main objective of the conference was to come up with a coherent strategy and programmes in order to build strong and viable journalists and media workers trade unions in Africa,” said Youness M’Jahed, Secretary General of the Trade Union of Moroccan journalists who hosted the conference.

The conference agreed to launch a Campaign against Impunity in the Media in Africa; to prepare a draft framework for media law reform in Africa; to strengthen trade union work in African journalism; and to prepare efficient strategies for organising programmes to support journalists in the region.

Participants agreed to establish a Conference of African Journalists Unions with the aim to meet regularly and to prepare for the creation of a formal regional federation of journalists’ unions across the continent. A committee was put in place for a follow up meeting to take place in Nairobi, Kenya in two months.

The decision to hold a continental meeting for African Journalists trade unions was taken in 2004 at the IFJ congress in Athens; and the Rabat conference has also set the agenda for the Africa group to the planned IFJ congress to take place next year in Moscow, Russia.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 42

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries